L. W. Enyeart
HE country now included in Hayes County was formerly a part of the great buffalo range, the cherished hunting ground of the Indians. Settlement was delayed for many years because of the hostility of the red men. Many bloody battles were fought between the various. Indian tribes, particularly the Pawnee and the Sioux, over the possession and use of this ground.
The first white men were hunters. Doctor W. F. Carver, "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and other famous frontier characters hunted here to supply meat for the workmen and soldiers during the building of the Union Pacific railroad in 1868-69. In the early seventies sportsmen came from all over the world to hunt in the valleys of the Red Willow, The Frenchman's Fork and the Stinking Water. The latter stream got its name from the hundreds of rotting carcasses left on its bank and in its bed by the hunters. Carver claimed in 1873 that he himself had killed at least thirty thousand buffalo. This was the year after the famous hunt staged with elaborate ceremony in honor of Grand Duke Alexis, twenty-two year old brother of the reigning Czar of Russia. This party, led by "Buffalo Bill" Cody as chief of scouts and accompanied by General Sheridan and officers from Fort McPherson, camped on Big Blackwood eight miles northeast of the present site of Hayes Center. Buffalo Bill induced the famous Sioux chief, Spotted Tail, with one hundred warriors to present a demonstration of the Indian method of hunting. Followed by a war dance, the whole affair was a brilliant success and the duke himself succeeded in killing several buffalo.
D. L. Neswanger of Cambridge has placed a monument at the site of the camp. On the reverse side of this monument are carved the names of early settlers: Samuel Tate, first settler, (date not learned), John Ryan, 1881; Joseph K. Paxton, 1870; Mary A. Keeler, 1870; Eliza Keeler, 1872; L. K. Sitler, 1874; Samuel E. Clifford, 1880; W. H. Braugh, 1868; Edna S. Keeler, 1874.
After the battle in 1873 between the Sioux and Pawnees at Massacre Canyon in Hitchcock County, the Indians gave no more trouble. Most of the buffalo had been killed and cattlemen began bringing in their herds to fatten upon the old buffalo range. As early as 1875 cattle were ranging on the Frenchman and John Delay, later connected with the Hour-Glass Ranch in Dundy County, is said to have been the first cattleman.
The first homesteads were taken in the vicinity of Carrico postoffice on Red Willow creek in 1874. It is claimed that the Sitlers, Keelers and Paxtons came about 1870. This may be true, as settlers often occupied the land for several years before filing claims.
In 1878-79 a settlement had sprung up in the Thornburg vicinity further down the creek. Daniel Fuller, Michael Brennen and Joab Copeland made the first filings.
Postoffices were established in 1880 at Carrico and Thornburg on Red Willow creek and at Estelle on the Stinking Water creek in the southwest part of the county. Land office records show no homesteads in that vicinity at this early date, but there were large cattle ranches twenty-five miles from here, which were probably served by the Carrico postoffice. Only one of these ranches was in Hayes County, Baum and Ray's six miles southwest of the postoffice.
In the summer of 1881 a correspondent of the Omaha Daily Republican reported trouble in this vicinity between the cattlemen and the settlers. The recent release on a technicality of a cattleman who had killed and burned two homesteaders in Custer County had emboldened the cattlemen who saw their range being appropriated by the settlers. They resorted to threats and persecution to drive out the newcomers. The postmaster at Estelle, an old man, had obtained a power of attorney from certain Texas cattle owners to collect their stray cattle from the general roundup. These cattle had been regarded by local ranchers as their legitimate prizes. Furthermore the postmaster had been skinning the carcasses of cattle that had perished inthe severe weather of the preceding winter and selling their hides. He was visited early in the spring by two cowboys who demanded possession of a cow the old man claimed to have purchased off the trail the year before. He offered to surrender the animal if they would get an order of replevin from a justice of the peace a half mile away. They declared there was no law in this country and left threatening to raise a mob and hang the old man. A few days later fifteen men met at a ranch near the mouth of Stinking Water and discussed plans for a lynching but gave up the idea.
Hayes County was created by an act of the state legislature Feb. 19, 1877 but no organization was effected until the latter part of 1884. According to John S. Wise a meeting of the special officers apopinted (sic) by Governor Dawes was held at LaForest on Blackwood creek, the home of LaForest Dyer. J. W. Dyer was special clerk; John W. Daniels, H. H. Troth and William Keith were special commissioners. Their first act was to call a special election for Jan. 10, 1885 to choose officers for the new county and submit a proposition to suspend the herd law. Sixty-seven votes were cast, fifty-four of which favored suspension. The following officers were elected: clerk, J. W. Dyer; treasurer, J. W. Daniels; sheriff, Charles Bailey; superintendent,
Mrs. M. Daniels; county judge, M. H. Coons; commissioners, H. H. Troth, John S. Hughes and John H. Wise.
Coons resigned and Bailey refused to qualify. So Samuel Tate and Joe Small were renamed as first acting judge and sheriff respectively for the new county. John W. Daniels also refused to act as treasurer and Lou Armstrong was appointed. He deputized James Cooper who did the office work during his term.
At the special election on Jan. 10, 1885 locations proposed for the county seat were Hayes Center, Estelle and LaForest. None received a majority of votes and another election was called for April 10. The two receiving the highest number of votes, namely Hayes Center and Estelle, were voted upon and Hayes Center won.
The first seat of government was housed in two rooms rented from J. W. Dyer for which he received $10 per month.. The county offices were moved from time to time. One courthouse burned down on May 5, 1891 and a new one costing $5,000 was built in 1906.
Estelle in 1885 was a little town with a postoffice and a general store, a blacksmith shop, a harness shop and a mill. The mill was owned by Doctor Bostock who combined the practice of healing the sick with that of grinding flour to feed the hungry. That year Hayes Center had been built as a location for the county seat by promoters. It claimed a population of 100. M. J. Abbott, attorney, was also editor of the Hayes Center News, which began publication on April 9, 1885, the day before Hayes Center was voted the county seat. Dambaugh Brothers had a drug store. A. L. West and Hicks Martin each had a stock of general merchandise; B. F. Yates was a wagonmaker; I. M. Davis sold agricultural implements; J. L. Meredith was a physician; T. J. Galavey practiced law; R. C. Walker had the postoffice.
Many of the first schoolhouses in the county were of sod but at least one differed, a "stone" schoolhouse at the A. J. Irvine ranch on the Stinking Water creek. This is still in good condition.
The first teacher in Hayes Center as far as can be learned was Andy Hatch, who taught in 1885 in a little house near where Loren Enyeart's barn now stands. He was followed by Mrs. Will West. Other early teachers were Mrs. John Snee, Mrs. Mary Hillman, Mrs. Margaret West, J. E. Hammond, and Joseph M. Crosby. In 1906 Hayes Center added high school grades. There was no room in the little two room village school, so a store room was rented on the business street where the ninth and tenth grades were taught by the principal, H. S. Robinson. A little later a county high school was built at Hayes Center.
One of Hayes County's features is the Duke Alexis recreation ground eight miles northeast of Hayes Center. The area contains approximately 140 acres, including a 100 acre lake, well stocked with fish. On the grounds are a large kitchen and dining room and several cottage cabins.
Two miles east of Hayes Center, United Air Lines maintains an emergency landing field. On the edge of town is a radio station and power house, with operators on duty twenty-four hours a day reporting weather conditions to planes traveling between Chicago and Denver.
Hayes County today is purely an agricultural and stock raising community. The same land which made buffalo thrive now fattens hundreds of beef cattle and yields excellent crops.
ASHMORE, HUGH BENTON: Farmer & Legislator; b Redwillow Co, Neb Feb 13, 1881; s of Hezekiah Marlon Ashmore-Katherine L Sims; ed East Denver HS 1900; m Ruth Esther Hubbard Oct 15, 1913 De Kalb Ill; 1900-05 off boy & clk in Colo Fuel & Iron Co, Denver; 1905- farmer in Hayes Co near Palisade; 1937-39 Neb senator from 37th dist, 1939-41 reelect; AF&AM 216, Palisade; RAM; KT; York Rite 16; Meth Ch; hobby, study of taxation; res Palisade.
BEEZLEY, FLOYD R: Sheriff; b Hayes Co, Neb May 17, 1893; s of John R Beezley-Mary Rutherford; ed Pawnee Co; m Lola E Stewart (dec 1934); s Robert, Wayne, Billie; d Marie, Ruth, Ada, Lolabeth; m Faith Potter Oct 25, 1935 McCook; prior to 1914 farmed with father in Pawnee Co; 1914-20 farmed indep, Pawnee Co; 1920-31 farmed in Hayes Co; 1931- Hayes Co sheriff; 1931 arrested one of robbers of the Hamlet State Bank; mbr Neb Sheriffs & Peace Ofcrs Assn; Rep; hobbies, hunting, fishing; res Hayes Center.
CHASE, RAY C: County Judge; b Allen, Neb Nov 14, 1890; s of Franklin W Chase-Mary L Smith; ed Fremont Normal 1912; m Hazel A Case Nov 4, 1919 Niagara N Y; d Ruth M, Margery L; tchr in rural schs & small towns; 1914 apptd to fill vacancy of co supt, Dixon Co; 1916-20 Dixon Co supt by election; 1920-23 prin Plainview Jr HS; 1924-29 supt of Haigler HS; 1929 farmed at Haigler; 1930-34 supt of schs, Hamlet; 1934 apptd co clk to fill vacancy 6 mos; 1935 orgd Co-op Credit Assn; 1936- Co judge; during World War enl June 26, 1918, served with base hosp 42, O/S 7 mos, disch Apr 1919 Camp Dodge Ia; Amer Leg 287, post adjt; hobbies, hunting, fishing, sports; res Hayes Center.
CLIFFORD, WILLIAM A: Farmer & Stockman; b Columbus, O Sept 28, 1879; s of Samuel F Clifford-Mary E Fisher; ed Gage & Redwillow Cos; Oklahoma City HS 1899; m Katherine Keller Jan 30, 1926 McCook; s William A Jr, Frank Harrison; d Rose Marie, Kathleen; 1880 came to Hayes Co with parents; 1888-96 lived on farm near Wymore with parents; 1896-1903 with parents on Okla homestead following opening of Cherokee strip; 1903-08 int in cotton raising, Comanche Co Okla; 1908-15 salesman in N D, S D, Neb, Kas, Okla & Tex; 1915- farmer & stockman in Hayes Co, now has 3390 A of land, running 250-400 Hereford cattle; helped estab Camp Hayes & lake, also Camp Duke Alexis; mbr dist 2 sch bd 10 years; pct assessor; Rep; hobby, purebred cattle; res Hayes Center.
CROSBY, JOSEPH M: Abstractor; b Lincoln, Neb July 20, 1875; s of Richard M Crosby-Nancy Stone; ed Fremont Normal, BSc 1904; m Eva Leora West Dec 25, 1906 Hayes Center; s Walter F; d Izola (Mrs Alva C Counce); 1887 with parents moved to Kearney; 1888 with parents came to Hayes Co; 1897 sch tchr, Hayes Co; 1905-13 emp in newspaper off, also began abstract work; 1916-22 Hayes Co treas; 1924-28 Hayes Co judge; 1928- abstractor; AF&AM, Palisade; IOOF 211, Past noble grand; hobby, fishing; res Hayes Center.
ENYEART, LOREN W: County Clerk & Clerk of District Court; b Wabash, Ind Mar 12, 1879; s of John W Enyeart-Emma Parks; ed Culbertson 1897; m Frances G Potts Nov 18, 1903 Hayes Center; s Charles R, John R, Kenneth R; d Mrs Florence R Counce); 1881-84 lived in McCook; 1884-88 moved to Hayes Co, father
homesteader; 1888-97 lived in Culbertson; 1897- worked for Hayes Co Times for C A Ready, managing editor, Hayes Center 1902-15; 1908-12 Hayes Co treas; 1915-34 Hayes Center P M; 1934- Hayes Co clk; 1938- clk of dist court & co assessor; MWA, past counsel; Royal Highlanders; Neb Assn of Co Commrs, Co Clks, Co Registers of Deeds & Co Highway Commrs; AF&AM 216, Palisade; Congl' Ch treas; Rep; hobby, current events; res Hayes Center.
GARRETT, EDWARD E: Retired; b Douglas, Isle of Man Jan 25, 1873; s of Thomas Garrett-Jane Callow; landed in N Y from Isle of Man June, 1876; 1876-84 farmed in Holt Co Mo; 1884-89 farmed Sumner Co Kas; 1889-1918 farmed near Hayes Center; 1918-26 Hayes Co clk; 1926-32 farmed near Hayes Center; 1932-36 Hayes Co commr; 1936- ret; owns 3000 A in Hayes Co & res in town; during the World War in Hayes Co coun of defense; IOOF 211; res Hayes Center.
HAJEK, MRS MARY: Homemaker; b Cleveland, O Feb 2, 1868; d of Frank Musil-Barbara ___; m Frank Hajek Mar 10, 1887 Wilber (dec); s Frank, Edward, Adolph; d Agnes, Alice, Blanche; 1869 homesteaded in Saline Co with parents; 1887 came to Hayes Co with husband; RNA; res Hayes Center.
HINK, MARY: County Superintendent; b Lancaster Co, Neb Oct 27, 1902; d of Nelson Allen-Lydia Miller; ed Lincoln HS 1920; U of N; 1920-23 sch tchr, Lancaster Cc; 1923-37 sch tchr in Hayes, Hitchcock & Perkins Cos; 1937 apptd Hayes Co supt to fill vacancy; 1938- co supt; OES, Lincoln; Rebekah, Hayes Center; hobby, reading; res Hayes Center.
KITTLE, GEORGE A: Postmaster; b Hayes Co, Neb Nov 10, 1897; s of George Y Kittle-Tillie Larson; ed Palisade HS 1918; U of N 1918-21; m Elva C Birchell Feb 22, 1922 McCook; s Keith, Bernard, Carl; prior to 1918 helped father on farm; 1921-23 salesman for R L Harris whol gros; 1923-27 tchr, Hayes Center, also Hamlet HS; 1927-34 Hayes Co clk; 1934- P M, Hayes Center; helped obtain county sch bldg 1932; during World War in SATC, U of N; Amer Leg 287, past adjt & service ofcr; C of C: Neb League of Dist P Ms; IOOF 211, past grand, del to state conv in Fremont 1936, Omaha 1938; AF&AM 216, sr deacon; Congl Ch; Dem; hobbles, hunting, fishing, off P 0; res Hayes Center.
LAIRD, WILBUR: County Treasurer; b Lincoln, Neb Jan 14, 1893; s of C O Laird-Mintle Marion; ed Wauneta HS; m Mabel Dunham Feb 19, 1919 Hayes Co; d Geneva Mae, Evelyn Faye, Wilburta Marie, Glenda Shirley; 1914-21 farmed, Hayes Co; 1921-35 farmed near Hayes Center; 1935- Hayes Co treas; has farming ints in Hayes Co; Congl Ch; Dem; hobby, stock raising; res Hayes Center.
LOOMIS, SAMUEL C: Hardware & Implement Dealer; b Washington, Ia Mar 26, 1870; s of Edmund Loomis-Margaret Figgins; ed Middleburg; Grand Island Bus Coll 1898; m Effie M Snoke Apr 6, 1892 Hayes Co; s Clarence, E Reed, Wayne G, Joe E; d Maude (Mrs Albert Lacey), Loa; 1892-98 farmed on homestead near Hayes Center; 1898-1921 farmed on homestead after going to bus Coll; 1921- opr hdw & impl bus, Hayes Center; past mbr town bd; mbr sch bd dist 30; pct assessor; Bapt Ch; Rep; hobby, gardening; res Hayes Center.
McKEE, EUGENE G: Farmer; b Barnard, Mo Apr 26, 1882; s of Joseph McKee-Mary C Hollingsworth; m Anna Green Channel in Mar 1925 Holyoke Colo; step s Paul Richard Channel; d Barbara Jean; came to Hayes Co with parents 1887, worked for father on ranch: 1898-1902 carried mail tri-weekly on horseback on star route; 1902 started farming for self; 1903 filed on homestead, 1906 filed on additional 160 A, farmer & stockraiser; 1907 helped org sch dist 51, mbr sch bd since; 1908-12 tchr in neighboring dists; 1912- farmer & rancher, Hayes Co; owns 1680 A; chmn Hayes Co agrl conservation program; hobby, baseball; res Palisade.
McKIBBIN, HARRY B: Editor; b Fulton Co, Penn May 26, 1879; s of Harry B McKibbin Sr-Elizabeth Hendershot; ed Lexington HS; m Hazel Metzer Apr 2, 1908 Culbertson; s Lyndell W; d Adilene (Mrs Clifford McNeil), Vonda (Mrs Clifford Paine), Mona (Mrs Charles Shoop), Leona I; left Penn 1880; learned printing trade while in sch; 1904-17 journeyman printer in various states; 1917-20 owner & editor St Paul Republican; 1920-28 owner & editor Weekly Progress, Culbertson; 1928-30 leased & ran Upland Eagle; 1930- publisher, editor Times Republican, Hayes Center; 1921 helped in org Massacre Canyon Memorial Assn, commemorating the last battle between the Sioux & Pawnees; 1934 helped org Duke Alexis recreation ground; C of C, chmn; MWA 1901; Royal Highlanders, Columbus; Meth Ch; hobbies, hunting, fishing; res Hayes Center.
MILLER, ROBERT C: Banker; b Kearney Co, Neb Aug 20, 1885; s of John W Miller-Margaret Bloodgood; ed Kearney Co; m Goldie Simons Jan 26, 1907 Cedar Bluffs Kas; s John K; d Shirley S; 1900-15 teleg opr & station agt for various RRs; 1915-23 bkkpr, later cash Frenchmen Valley Bank of Palisade; 1923- owner of int in First Natl Bank of Hayes Center, now VP & mbr bd of dirs; past chmn town bd; past mbr sch bd; Neb Bankers Assn; AF&AM 216, Palisade, past master; Tehama Shrine; Congl Ch Indep; hobby, golf; off First Natl Bank; res Hayes Center.
MINTLING, RUFUS: Retired; b Des Moines Co, Ia Dec 17, 1862; s of William Mintling-Elizabeth Welty; ed Des Moines Co Ia; Lancaster Co; m Fannie Paxton July 19, 1888 Hayes Center (dec Sept 1915); s Leslie, Willard; d Elsie (Mrs Roy McMullen), Fern, Faye (Mrs L C Laird), Ava (Mrs F C Robinson), Ora; 1885-1924 farmed on homestead, Hayes Co, while on homestead pur land near farm, now owns 1640 A in Hayes Co; 1924- ret; 1918 pur Camp Duke Alexis, now used for picnic grounds; MWA; C of C, secy; 1933-37 Hayes Co judge; IOOF; Rep; hobby, woodwork; res Hayes Center.
ROE, FRANK: Farmer; b Burlington, Ia May 13, 1870; s of William Roe-Rebecca Ann Mintling; ed Burlington Ia; Lincoln; m Sarah Miller Aug 26, 1896 Hayes Co; s Harvey, Charlie; d Grenda (Mrs G H Turner), Jennie (Mrs F E Counce); 1900-19 farmed in Hayes Co; 1919- res Hayes Center, int in farm, owner 880 A in Hayes Co; mbr sch bd dist 30; IOOF 211, past noble grand; Rep; hobby, farming ints; res Hayes Center.
TIDYMAN, WILLIAM M: Farmer; b Fillmore Co, Neb Dec 16, 1876; s of William H Tidyman-Melissa Jack; ed Frontier Co; m Magdallne Schmelzer Oct 31, 1898 Hayes Center; s Oscar E, Leonard; d Ruby (Mrs ___ Russell), Lela; 1899-1904 farmed in Frontier Co; 1904- farmer of 960 A, Hayes Cc; Equity Exchange, Maywood, chmn of bd 9 years; mbr sch bd, Germanville sch 21 years; pct assessor 3 years; road overseer; mbr county soil conservation bd 2 years; chmn Maywood Southwest Tele Co 24 years; Meth Ch; Dem; hobby, stockrising; res Maywood.
"Who's Who in Nebraska" - directory for the entire state
Return to Hayes County
© 1999, 2000, 2001 by Brenda Lawless Daniel